US Envoy’s Meeting with Bhagwat Lends Legitimacy to RSS, Warns Congressman Trone


Ambassador Atul Keshap meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Such meetings could lend legitimacy to RSS, says David Trone in letter to outgoing ambassador Atul Keshap

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — A US Congress member has written a letter to the country’s ambassador to India citing concern over latter’s meeting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bagwat reminding him of how RSS “promotes Hindu nationalism, an ideology which  threatens Muslim  community and other communities”. The letter also says that the RSS has a “painful history of violence and destruction”.

In the letter dated September 30, Congressman David Trone, who represents Maryland’s 6th District, warns Atul Keshap, acting American ambassador, that such meetings of US officials could lend legitimacy to RSS, a Hindu nationalist group that often receives criticism from liberal and secular voices.

“By engaging with RSS officials and discussing their ideology the United States could lend legitimacy to this controversial group and further jeopardise the communities that the RSS has targeted,” Trone warns Keshap, who met RSS chief on September 8 and put out a tweet saying he had “good discussion” with Baghwat on “India’s tradition of diversity, democracy, inclusivity, and pluralism can ensure the vitality and strength of a truly great nation.”

The meeting with Baghwat was part of a series of meetings that Keshap, the outgoing ambassador, held with individuals in India. He had also met Congress leader Priyanaka Gandhi.

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Underlying the importance of conducting diplomacy with individuals and organisations, Trone, however, asserts in his letter that the nationlist groups pose a threat to US’ values of “peace and tolerance” and India’s secular principles. Trone is a former member of House panel of foreigner affairs.

The US envoy’s meeting with the RSS chief came at a time when Hindu nationalist groups in the United States were campaigning against an academic conference over the rise of Hindutva in India. The speakers received threats for taking part in the conference, forcing many to back out. Washington Post reported this week that following the conference RSS-sligned groups in the US are giving tough time to the academics who now fear for their jobs and security.




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